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The Andrews Pages Picture Gallery : Godalming, Surrey
A selection of photographs and postcards of a Surrey country town
 
Godalming, Ockford Road (2)


The view of Ockford Road, looking towards the junction with Shackstead Lane. The closed gates on the far right belong to Ashbrooke House, home of the land agent and surveyor Walter Mellersh (1859-23 March 1947) and his family for over 80 years[1]. The two rows of cottages, divided by what used to be the Anchor public house (out of view behind the low fence), are Grade II listed today. There is more about the cottages on the previous page.

At the far end of the road, behind the white sign, is another Grade II listed building that is now known as the Inn on the Lake. The property has not always been an Inn and was formerly the home of a number of interesting and distinguished people.

The Sisleys, Richard and later his second wife Sarah Anne, lived there from the 1860s until the 1880s[2]. Richard was a miller and took over the leasehold in 1843 and eventually purchased the freehold of the Ockford Corn Mill with his brother William who later became Mayor of Godalming; it was the most profitable of their undertakings[3]. The house was known variously as Ockford House, Ockford Water and Ockford Cottage in the Sisleys time there[2].

The Davey family moved to Ockford House in 1907. The Hon. Arthur Jex Davey (Oct 1869-17 Oct 1918), a Company Director, was the younger son of the late Lord Davey of Fernhurst. In 1912 he was voted on to Godalming Town Council and became the Town's Mayor two years later[4]. Whilst he was in office his wife Iona, as Mayoress, proposed a house to house collection for the Red Cross and St. John's Ambulance as part of the war effort[5]. The Daveys' involvement with the Council ceased when they moved to Abbot's Wood near Compton. Unfortunately, the former Mayor was to die in tragic circumstances just a couple of years later as he was amongst the 500 on board the Irish mail boat "Leinster" when it was torpedoed in the Irish Sea on 17th Oct 1918[4].

The next person to live at Ockford House was Lieutenant-General Sir William Babtie, V.C., who was Hon. Surgeon to the King and had been awarded the V.C. for his attempt to save the life of Lord Roberts's son at Colenso in the Boer War. He passed away on 11 Sept. 1920 at Knocke sur Mer in Belgium[6].

Sir Cecil Beck (1878-22 March 1932) and his wife followed. Sir Cecil was the M.P. for Saffron Walden until 1922 when was appointed as chairman of the Independent Liberal Party[7].

The "Lake Hotel" opened in 1934[8] and during Ascot Week in 1936 a review was published:

"Never tired of recommending as won't be let down ... is the Lake Hotel at Godalming. Nothing very much to look at from the road as one goes from Godalming to Milford, it yet has an inviting look when, after parking your car at the foot, you approach the front door. Mr. Alan Rudd, who owns it and personally has now got one of the best small hotels within easy reach of London. He wants to attract those who are appreciative of good, well cooked, food and wine"[9].

In late 1941 Godalming Justices granted an application for the transfer of the licence of the Lake Hotel from Mr. Alan Rudd to Miss Collard. It was stated that Mr. Rudd was entering the Royal Air Force[10].

The postcard above was published after 1939, and possibly in the early 1950s when the hotel was still the Lake Hotel. There have been several owners in the interim but diners who visited the Inn on the Lake in the 1980s fondly remember the excellent cuisine, the pretty pink tablecloths in the dining room and the shallow indoor water feature which made dining there such a pleasurable experience. It is still a thriving business (2017).

The Inn on the Lake, the home of two of the town's Mayors, has played a significant role in the town's history.



Enlargement of the section showing the Lake Hotel


"Godalming". Published by Judges Ltd., No.23572 [after 1939]. Posted 4 May 1962 at Hindhead.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Page researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References:

[1] The Mellersh family can be found at Ashbrooke in 1867 (Post Office Directory), through various census returns and trade directories, to the 1939 Register. Walter's death in 1947 was followed by that of his sister who died at Ashbrooke in April the same year.

[2] The 1867 PO Directory mentions Richard Sisley. Richard was from a famiily of millers. In 1841 they were in East Grinstead but by 1861 he and his brother William were in partnership together and living on Ockford Road. By 1871 Richard was classed as a landowner and miller and employing 11 men at Ockford Mill. Richard's death on 12th Feb 1878, aged 54, was announced in the "Reading Mercury" of 16 February 1878. Sarah Anne, his second wife, passed away at Ockford Cottage in December 1881. In 1881 census she was shown living at Ockford Water.

[3] "Surrey Advertiser", 7 January 1918. Sale of freehold of Ockford Corn Mill by Richard Sisley, junior. It was available for sale from Lady Day. The deeds indicated it was a water corn mill from at least 1843 when the brothers took over the leasehold, later buying the freehold. The family had been involved with the mill for around 74 years. Richard Sisley the younger, a physician, was not in Godalming in the 1891 census but he was listed in the 1891 Kelly's Directory.

[4] "Surrey Advertiser", 21 October 1918.

[5] "Surrey Advertiser", 10 May 1915.

[6] "Sheffield Daily Telegraph", 16 March 1921. Latest Wills. Also probate records.

[7] "Chelmsford Chronicle", 10 March 1922. There were several references, including this one, to Sir Cecil Beck M.P. and Lady Tyrell Beck returning from France to Ockford House. Who Was Who (pub A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2016; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2014) records his address at Ockford House when he died in 1932.

[8] The date is from Janaway, John (2003) "Godalming and Farncombe Pubs and Breweries", Ammonite Books, Godalming, Surrey. ISBN 1-869866-14-2.

[9] "The Sphere", 22 August 1936. [Ascot Week]

[10] "Surrey Advertiser", 1 November 1941.




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